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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Walt Cross

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Walt Cross

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Walt Cross
TOPICS: Conversations, Lifestyle

He began his professional career in health care administration. Today he's a lifestyle coach. You may wonder what that is. Well, among other things, he helps people all around the world reverse lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. You don't wanna miss this. His name is Walt Cross, I'm John Bradshaw, and this is our conversation.

John Bradshaw: Walt Cross, thanks so much for joining me. I appreciate you being here.

Walt Cross: Thank you, sir.

John Bradshaw: Today you're a lifestyle coach. What's a lifestyle coach?

Walt Cross: It's a person who helps a person, another person, with changing their lifestyle. A lot of times it's not that person who just wants to change their lifestyle to change it, but they're coming in with health issues, and they're tired of the side effects or the conventional not working, and they're looking for something that may work better.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so the sorts of things you typically help people with I mentioned are diabetes...

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Diabetes can be reversed, yes or no?

Walt Cross: Oh, absolutely.

John Bradshaw: By some or many or most people who suffer with the Type 2 diabetes?

Walt Cross: We've found over 98%.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Heart disease can be successfully treated, yes or no?

Walt Cross: Significantly, yes.

John Bradshaw: Significantly. Now, we're not making blanket promises Because...

Walt Cross: No.

John Bradshaw:'s not all created equal.

Walt Cross: Nothing's 100%.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so what you hold are the keys, if you like, to reversing lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease. You say it can be done. You've seen it done?

Walt Cross: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: With...repeatedly?

Walt Cross: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Are you against conventional medicine?

Walt Cross: No.

John Bradshaw: Okay, now that's important we point that out because I don't want anybody thinking, "Oh, these are guys who are gonna cure everything with acai berries and don't want anybody to go to the doctor". That's not you.

Walt Cross: No.

John Bradshaw: Okay. And you spent two decades in the conventional health care system as an administrator?

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Oh, fantastic. All right, we'll talk more about that in just a minute. Let's find out about you.

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Sounds like you're kind of from around here.

Walt Cross: Yes, sir.

John Bradshaw: So where you from?

Walt Cross: I'm from Dunlap.

John Bradshaw: Dunlap, Tennessee?

Walt Cross: Yeah, Sequatchie.

John Bradshaw: Not far from Dayton, Tennessee.

Walt Cross: That's right. Yeah.

John Bradshaw: In the... what do you call that valley over there?

Walt Cross: Sequatchie.

John Bradshaw: The Sequatchie Valley?

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Okay, okay. So you're in the Sequatchie Valley. You were raised there?

Walt Cross: Yes, sir.

John Bradshaw: Until about how long?

Walt Cross: Well, then I lived there; then I came to Chattanooga.

John Bradshaw: Oh, you did? To the Promised Land. How did you end up in health care administration? Was that always the plan? Or...?

Walt Cross: No. No. I wanted to go into architecture...

John Bradshaw: Oh yes?

Walt Cross: my senior year in high school, and looking, preparing for college and going into that field, I realized you have to be able to be creative. Well, I don't have any of that ability.

John Bradshaw: Oh really? Yeah?

Walt Cross: No. So I thought, "Well, what do I like next"? And I liked health, I liked business, so I put them together and went into health care administration.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Where did you begin?

Walt Cross: I actually began in Tennessee.

John Bradshaw: Oh, you did? Yeah. And did it take you far? Or...?

Walt Cross: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia.

John Bradshaw: All right. So the Southeast.

Walt Cross: Yes. Only the Southeast.

John Bradshaw: You enjoyed that?

Walt Cross: I did, yes.

John Bradshaw: What was stimulating, rewarding about that?

Walt Cross: Helping people.

John Bradshaw: Yeah?

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Okay. And you're helping. They're sick. They come in sick and go home either well or on their way to being well.

That's the goal.

That has to be rewarding.

It is.

Did you ever feel like maybe you should've been a doctor?

I'd thought of that, yes.

John Bradshaw: You thought of that?


But God led you in other ways?

Yeah. You know, it takes a huge team. From dietary department to housekeeping, it takes everybody.

It does, doesn't it?

To make that system work. And so as the doctor, just, it's not just the doctor... the whole team has to come together. It's gotta be lab, it's gotta be therapies, it's gotta be all working together and then you have an outcome.

What's the strength or what are some of the strengths of the health care system as we know it today? What are some of the strengths?

You know, the strength in American health care is our emergency medicine. In chronic diseases, I think we could do better. That's why I left because I saw some outcome indicators that were better in lifestyle. But when you come to trauma, I think we do a good job.

I wouldn't be original if I were to use the words "The health care system as we know it is broken". I didn't count it, but that's about 10 words. It wouldn't be original 'cause everybody's talking about that. Politicians talk about it: "Gotta fix health care, gotta fix health care". This is a very subjective question. Is health care, as we know it today, fixable?

It is fixable.

Okay. How would you go about fixing? And I'm not gonna, we're not gonna do an entire overhaul of the entire industry, but...


...what sort of things would we look at to remedy...remedies?

I think you'd have to look at root cause and correct root cause.


And then you have to look at... You know, what is the focus? Is it financial, or is it outcome focus?

Health care's a business.

Walt Cross: It is.

It's profit and loss.

Very much.

So there has to be a financial focus.


John Bradshaw: Gotta pay the bills.

You have to.

How is that financial focus undoing some of the good that might otherwise be done?

There are times that... that we cut into the muscle because of cost savings, and we're more concerned about the dollars than we are the actual outcomes.

Can be tough, too, because providing health care is an expensive business.

Very much so.

And there's no end to technologies and treatments, there's new machinery and new developments, and none of it's free. And drug companies charge a lot of money. I do wanna point out I don't believe that you would say that you're against all medications, and I'm certainly not against all medications.


They save lives. They're a wonderful thing when they're wonderful. I've told my children, raising them, "Take all the medications you need to take". So, the health care system is wonderful. It's a behemoth, has its challenges; it has its critics. I don't need to pile on to that today. And you spent a couple of decades working in the health care system, and then you thought you'd transition out of that and do something else. What was it you saw that you said, "I could do that"?

I was driving down the road one morning, and I prayed in my pickup truck to work every morning. And I was about halfway to work one morning, and as loud as you're talking right now, there was a voice. It said, "Go work in a sanitarium". And I said, "God, I don't know that. "You know, I know conventional health care. I don't know sanitarium". And I argued a bit. Two weeks later, going the same way past the same little community, the voice was, "Go work in a sanitarium".

You heard a voice?

Oh, as it were, a voice just as loud as your voice.

Actual voice?




So what did you do?

Well, I had just finished reading a book called "Ministry of Healing".

It's a good book.

And I was comparing what we were doing versus what it said in that book. And then I found out there's lifestyle programs, and so I started doing research and went, and there was a lifestyle center that had a position open as director, and I went and took the job.

Where was that?

It was in Virginia.

A lifestyle center. And you... and that was it? You left your place of employment.

I did.

John Bradshaw: And days or weeks later, you're in another place.

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: That had to have been a very foreign sort of environment for you to dive head-first into.

Walt Cross: It was, yes.

John Bradshaw: Huh. And what type of treatments were you working with in this new location?

Walt Cross: Mostly diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Walt Cross: And to tell you... it was really strange. I get there, and they only fed their diabetics breakfast and dinner. Now, I'm from here. You know, dinner's the noon meal.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: And I can remember going in and telling the physicians, "You know, you gotta fix these folks supper. "You gotta have them a morning snack and afternoon snack and an HS snack". And one of the physicians said...he decided to play with me... and he said, "Why"? I said, "Standard practice. "You know, it's the know, it's what the American Dietetic Association recommends". And then they asked me one more question. They said, "How many diabetics do you reverse where you came from"?

John Bradshaw: A-ha.

Walt Cross: In 20

John Bradshaw: Zero?

Walt Cross: And they had over a 98% reversal rate.

So, I wanna repeat this because this is bona fide. You're not making this up. We could talk to half a dozen or a dozen or two dozen or 10 dozen people who'd validate what you say. When a diabetic goes to his or her doctor or is admitted to the hospital, like my oldest brother recently was...


...there's no thought of winding that all the way out, of reversing the diabetes. Treat the diabetes. Now, I think we oughta point out, too, there's a difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. And that's significant.

It is.

If you're born with diabetes, that can be a horse of a different color. Adult onset Type 2 diabetes, very, very treatable.


So the hospital you go to isn't gonna try to fix your diabetes, but it'll do a pretty good job of managing it.


And that's significant. You went into an environment where diabetes was being reversed.


John Bradshaw: No more insulin.

Walt Cross: Gone.

John Bradshaw: No more medication of any kind.


Why are hospitals not doing this? There may be three or four or five reasons. They could. I mean, you can fix someone's diabetes in a hospital just as well as you can in a lifestyle center. Why are not hospitals doing this?

You know, I think there's a perception. When I left, I told corporate I was leaving to a place that reversed Type 2 diabetes, and they told me I was crazy. They said, "Well, you're crazy. You're gonna ruin your reputation". And I said, "We can even significantly improve Type 1". And they said, "You're stupid". And so I think there's a...just... a belief that this is what we have, and it's not fixable. The research isn't out there saying it's reversible, even though we have come a long ways in the last 22 years since I left...

Yeah, yeah. the conventional health care.

How can someone who's well educated... these people have MBAs... how can they force their head so far into the sand to ignore evidence-based outcomes? These aren't crack-pots making unsubstantiated claims. This is verifiable, and the science backs it up. Why, then, do you think...I can understand other reasons... but why would there be ignorance among some? Oughtta be careful I don't offend every last friend I have who works in health care, 'cause as I said, we respect the health care system, we thank God for it, but they're not rolling diabetes back. They're sticking needles in your arm and so forth. How can that kind of ignorance exist?

I think one is you're jumping out of standard of practice.

Okay. There's always a little fear involved there.

There is. When you step out of standard of practice, you don't have the, from a liability standpoint...

There we have it.

Walt Cross: I mean, you know, if something goes wrong with insulin, Metformin, you've got 50 doctors you can bring in the courtroom and say, "I do the exact same thing".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: When you step outside of standard practice, you got a family to take care of.

John Bradshaw: That's right. Yeah.

Walt Cross: Or even more so today is a lot of physicians don't work for themselves. They work for groups. And so, you know, they can't just step out and do that because the group wouldn't agree with it.

John Bradshaw: So there's that... the standard of practice, the system as we know it. There's gotta be an element of protecting the system. And then I wonder this. Not everybody wants to go to a lifestyle center for a week or two or three and have their diabetes reversed. There is no shortage of people living in the United States who want a pill or an injection. "Don't bother me with this other foolishness"... tons of people like that. Physician friend of mine who was in West Virginia, he had a, not a friend, a patient, and he said to the patient, "You know, Ed"... I'll call him Ed... "really all you need to do is drink more water and walk around the block once a day. You'll be fine".

Walt Cross: Yes.

"That's all you need to do". And Ed said, "Doctor, are you gonna gimme a pill, "or am I gonna go find me another doctor who will"?

Walt Cross: That's exactly right.

John Bradshaw: He wrote him a prescription and sent him on his way.

Walt Cross: It's true.

John Bradshaw: So we have...

Walt Cross: That's a big part of it.

John Bradshaw: ...both sides, right?

Walt Cross: Yeah, we do.

John Bradshaw: Reluctance on the part of people. So you're dealing with diabetes. And I said before I would ask you this: I would ask you to explain to me how diabetes may be reversed. How's that happen?

Walt Cross: The key is root cause.

John Bradshaw: Root cause?

Walt Cross: Yes. If I have, say, a piece of sandpaper, and I'm rubbing my arm, what's gonna happen to the skin?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, nothing good.

Walt Cross: It's gonna ripe hide off of it.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: And you say, "Well, Walt, let me put some medicine on there," and you put medicine on there, and then you leave, and I go to rubbing it again. And then you come back and say, "Oh, you need some medicine on there". "Yes, it needs it. It's hurting. I'm down to the bone". And you put more medicine. Is it gonna heal?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, no.

Walt Cross: You gotta get rid of the cause, okay? And so you got, when we look at diseases, we've got to look at the physiology. What is the cause? A surgeon once told me... he was the top surgeon in Philadelphia in his field... and he said, "Walt, you gotta do four things "to reverse disease. Number one, you've got to identify "the organ or organs that are caught, "you know, dealing with that primary concern. "Then you've gotta identify the organs or systems that may affect that. Let's say it's stress".

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Walt Cross: "Which organ is that? It's the brain".


"So are there other organs or systems that can affect brain function"? Cardiovascular, digestive... that...number two. "So then you have to look at, "then you have to take away anything "which may harm any of those organs or systems. "Could be diet. It could be lack of sleep. "It could be dehydration. "It could be smoking or alcohol, illicit drug, whatever it may be". And then he says, "You've gotta give those organs and systems what they need to run well". And he says, "You cure disease".

It's pretty simple when you boil it down like that.

Yes. And it was true. And that's what I use on a daily basis. So as we talk about diabetes, you've, we have thousands of, trillions of cells actually...

Mm-hmm. our body. And around your cells you have insulin receptors. And what happens is insulin opens a door and allows glucose into the cell. Everybody's happy. Three things I found that can cause that door not to work too well on that insulin receptor, and people then become insulin resistant. Number one, if the cell gets too big, the door just doesn't work as well. You know how in the winter time when you try to go open the door and it kinda sticks a little on you?

Oh yeah. Yeah.

Okay. So, the door gets too big. Number two, if there's too much fat. And number three, if there's too much inflammation. So you have to remove those three things. So if the cell's too big, what do you do? You just shrink it.

How do you shrink a cell?

Ought to go to ideal body weight.

All right.

It's that simple.

Just like that.

But you may have a person that's like you, and they still have Type 2 diabetes. So there's other reasons. You can be ideal body weight and still have Type 2 diabetes. So the next one's too much fat. Now, you've been here a few years in the South, and you know we like to fry everything: 'maters, taters, ice cream, pickles, cheese, pic chick, pickin', you know, chickens. okra, whatever.

Yeah, it's always better...

We fry it.

...when it's fried.

And if we don't fry it, we put oil in it. That fat, dairy, meat, it clogs that receptor. So you go to a diet for a time being... I call it "the restoration diet," to restore the body, kinda like restoring a car. You've got to, you know, grind off the rust and, you know, put the Bondo and sand it and all that kinda thing. And then, once you're done, you don't have to keep taking the grinder to it. But for the short period of time, we take fats away so that...God is so cool. You know, just as He forgives us for our sins, He forgives us for our sins the way we treat our body.


Isn't that cool?

That's fantastic.

And so what happens is when you take that fat out of the diet on a special diet we do, then it cleans out that fat in those cells, and that receptor starts working again. The third one is inflammation. That inflammation could be sleep deprivation. Harvard says the number one cause of inflammation: processed foods.


So you take those three things away, boom, it's gone.

You've finally given the body a fighting chance, aren't you? Yeah.


So what you're doing with life coaching and health counseling, if you like, you're helping people to reason from cause to effect, is that right?

It's true.

Yeah, helping to see the root cause of what they're doing.


And you've found that the vast majority of times you do that, what happens?

The diabetes goes away. I mean, blood sugar comes normal. But you have to be careful because you've gotta work with your doctor or a health care person...or unless you know slidin' scale. But what happens is, as you're doing this, as you change that diet, as you start, and this is also cool...I noticed that my patients, I would sit down with them in the morning at 6 o'clock, and let's say you come in with a blood sugar of 180, 190. And I'd send you for a power walk for 30 minutes, and you'd come back, and it'd be 120, maybe 130. And I thought, "That's interesting". So I mentioned to a buddy of mine over at Loma Linda Medical School in California. He said, "That's interesting". He was a professor over there. Two years later, I saw him. He said, "Walt, you know what you told me two years ago? We did some studying on that". He says, "We found that just a 20-minute power walk lowers the blood sugar more than one shot of insulin". Isn't that cool?

That's fantastic.

So we have people exercise four times a day, just 20 minutes four times a day, you know, and drink adequate water, go to bed on time, and what we find is that blood sugar starts coming down. And so you've gotta measure your blood sugar every day. And so when you see that number start coming down, you say, "Hey, Doc, I'm doing this new diet, "and my blood sugar's comin' on down. How do I need to adjust that"? And your physician will help you adjust that.

Yeah. Yeah. I like the idea too of someone keeping in touch with the physician.


That keeps it safe and scientific and...

Walt Cross: Exactly.

John Bradshaw: ...should keep everybody happy. Fantastic. There is much more to know. I'm gonna find out about heart disease and more in just a moment. With Walt Cross, I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. My guest is Walt Cross. He's a life coach or a lifestyle coach. He's the man who can help you when you're dealing with lifestyle diseases and more. Walt, before we're done, I'm gonna be sure that I ask you about fanaticism because while we're talking about good lifestyle principles, there's no shortage of people who go off the deep end for a variety of reasons. Some are wired that way. Some get bad advice. Some just stop thinking rationally. And we don't wanna encourage people to do that. But before we get to that, we talked about diabetes. I think you spoke very, I think, helpfully, very expertly about how diabetes functions and how we can turn that backwards. Another thing that you deal a lot with: heart disease. Heart disease is probably a slightly more complicated animal in terms of the maybe more causes and maybe greater impact around the body. Perhaps I'm not entirely accurate in saying that, but it's a different animal. Explain what heart disease is. My recollection is that somewhere north of 600,000 Americans die every year from cardiovascular disease.

Walt Cross: It's the number one cause of death.

John Bradshaw: It's a huge number. What is it? I know it's a big thing, but break it down for me.

Walt Cross: When you look at cardiovascular disease, you look at...there's a number of issues.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: You know, does the person have hypertension? Does the person have atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis? Do they have issues of electrical issues, you know, arrhythmias? Do they you gotta identify... again, going back to the cause. The cure is in the cause. And so you've gotta identify what the cause... let's look at hypertension. Hypertension... number one cause I'm finding with hypertension is stress. Stress raises cortisol; stress lowers potassium. You've got hypertension. It could be because of dehydration. There's a number of reasons. Dehydration affects... high blood pressure. Are they outside of ideal body weight? That can cause... a lot of research on that causing hypertension. Do they have poor kidney function? The kidneys are the switches that regulate the blood pressure. And so if you don't take care, if you're having kidney issues and don't take care of the kidneys, good chance you're gonna have hypertension. Is it too much sodium? Is it because you have clogged arteries? You know, if you have a hole this big in your garden hose and you go down to this small, so you're gonna have more pressure.


So if you close that lumen in, you're gonna increase the pressure. Is it hardening of the arteries? You know, if you, every time the pump pumps, the pipe goes like this, then the pressure won't be bad, but if you go rigid, then your inside pressure's gonna go up because it doesn't do this anymore. Or is it heart issues? So there's a number of things that cause hypertension. And so you wanna find which one it is and then fix what's causing it. If it's an issue of, you know, let's say it's electrical, you want to figure out what's going on there. Is there some things that can help with the electrical? But the big issue out there that I find in cardiovascular is diet. A lot of folks just don't eat a healthy diet, especially here in the South. And if you eat a more... as Cornell University has found, Cambridge University has found, even Cleveland Clinic will tell you, and Cleveland Clinic has an excellent cardiovascular program, and they have found that if you'll eat a whole-food plant-based diet with variety, three things...and Harvard is very sticky on this, just like Cornell's gotta be variety. We're not dogs, same old, same old. We need variety for different nutrients. But it's not just plant-based. Fruit loops are plant-based.

Yeah. Yeah, there you go. That's right.

Oreos are plant-based.

Yeah, french fries are vegan.

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So it's gotta be whole-food, plant-based with variety. That is huge, huge on changing cardiovascular function. And then you then add in, is there adequate exercise?

Hey, let me interrupt you and back up. Whole-food, plant-based. That's not very hard.

It's not.

That's not very...I mean, really.


What does that mean? And I don't wanna... we're not even gonna use the word "salad" unless somebody storms out of the room in disgust.


What does that mean? If I were eating the typical SAD, Standard American Diet, and wanted to start transitioning to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, what sort of changes would I begin to make in my life? Easy, baby steps, what would I start doing?

Well, first of all, look at what you're eating. A lot of folks, you know, they write down what they're eating now and look at the volume of variety.

Yeah. Garbage and not much variety. Let's just say that.

And so what I have, I have a sheet of paper, 'cause that question comes up. "Walt, I'm not a rabbit".

John Bradshaw: Yeah. There you go.

Walt Cross: And so I have a piece of paper that has just a huge list of fruit. Now, when I go to Africa, let may tell you what, the African food is huge. I mean, taste buds just go...

When I was in Papua New Guinea, and we ate a pineapple...

Oh, yeah.

...and I've eaten pineapple before.


But this was like going from black-and-white TV to a 4K color.


The difference is unbelievable.

Yeah. Have you had tree tomatoes?

Oh, tamarillos? Yes. In New Zealand I had them.

Oh! They're great!

You don't eat them when they're not ripe because they'll turn you inside out. They're fabulous things.

Yeah. They are. And so when you look at all these types of fruit, it's amazing.

Yeah. It's all sorts of stuff. Yeah.

There is. And then I have a list of all kinds of vegetables. There's a lot of vegetables.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Walt Cross: And then I have all these nuts, then all these seeds and all these grains. There's a lot of variety.


And so what you don't wanna do is when you start eating this whole-food, plant-based diet... and I'm not a vegan; I got leather shoes here.

Oh, look at that. Yes, you do. Yeah.

And I've got a leather, you know, belt in my regular pants.


And so I'm not vegan. And so vegans don't do anything with any animals. I'm plant-based.

All right.

And so...when you look at all the variety there, there's a lot of variety of food. And so you just add a little at a time. And so, let's say your, you know, morning breakfast might be...folks tell me...

Pop Tarts, egg and Pop Tarts and a cup of coffee.

Are they swinging to the fast food on the way to work?

Yeah, ohhh.

And I say, "Listen, "we can still do fast food. Fast food's okay. Here's how you do fast food". So the night before, you get your poke. You know what a poke is?


A little brown bag.

Oh! Oh, okay, yes. I do understand, yeah. Grandma used to talk about pokes.

Yeah. And so you then put, say, a banana, an apple. Don't do a pear; it gets a little messy.

They can get messy.

And then get you some grapes, and then get you some walnuts, maybe some almonds; put it in that bag. And then when you run out the door the next morning, grab it and in drive time you can eat that.

John Bradshaw: That was fast.

Walt Cross: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And so it's not gonna mess you up, but it's healthy food, and that's fast food. That's healthy fast food. Start out with that. And then as you can, add some oatmeal; add some grits. Now, some of y'all's folks may not know what grits are.

Well, they ought to.

Yeah, they should, especially the yellow grits. They are really good.

Are they good?

I grew up with white grits, but yellow grits...

Grits are good.

Yeah, they are.

I've learned to love them.

Yellow grits even better.


And so, you know, there's quinoa, there's couscous, there's all kinds of grains, and then when you go to the noon meal, which we call dinner, and, you know, you've got your salad, yeah? But, I mean, put all kinds of stuff in there, not just lettuce, but, you know, you're putting celery and cucumbers and broccoli and cauliflower. Put some okra in there.


And then you can put the different foods in there, but you can eat some beans and some, you know, many vegetables you can put in there.


And so there's just... look at that huge list of a variety of foods.

By the way, speaking of okra, before we began here, we mentioned okra in conversation, and you earned my undying respect because I asked you a question I've asked many people. You're the only person ever to give me the right answer. When I asked you, "What's the best way to eat okra"? And you responded by saying...

It's raw.

Eat it raw.

Yeah, right off the plant.

It's fantastic.

This long, perfect, that long.

That's great. But you know what? I've gotta tell you this. I mentioned to Walt that if you really wanna do okra good, you make up a little peanut sauce and dip that okra into peanut, raw okra in peanut sauce. It's like nothing else. The stuff is fantastic. So plant more okra next year. Particularly if you're in the South, it grows like weeds, easy to grow, and you get some peanut sauce...or not... and you'll be a happy camper. So it doesn't have to be boring, does it?

No, no.

And by introducing these steps, is it okay to go slow, or do I need to dive in the deep end?

You know, it depends on how...what's the acuity? You know, as you talk about cardiovascular disease, you know, do you have an ejection fraction of 20, 25, 30? Then you need to jump in pretty fast. But if you just wanna change over, change over slowly if you want to. Start, try this dish, try that. You know Melody Prettyman? You know Melody, Chef Melody. You've got Mark Anthony...Chef Mark, Chef Anthony. You've got plenty of cookbooks out there.

Oh yeah, Fay Kazzi's got a great book we sell, and Karen Lynch...

Oh yes. And so try some of those cookbooks. Just add something in, just keep throwing it in.

Yeah, can't go wrong.


So, heart disease. I think I might have pulled you up short earlier on a question and asked you to drill down about heart disease, but that's okay. So you are finding... Okay, what sort of results do you see? I've heard the stories about the fellow who was so unwell, so unhealthy he couldn't walk to his mailbox to get the mail and walk back inside. He simply couldn't do it. And then after a program like the one you're talking about, before too long he was walking 2, 4, 6 miles in a day.


No problem.


Tell me some stories about what you've seen actually transpire in a person's life who has implemented changes.

A year ago...

Mm-hmm. wife...about a year and a half... knew something was wrong. And we started checking it out, ended up going to UAB, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Your or my ejection fraction's probably 65, 60, 65. That's when you have that left ventricle. It's a fraction of how much blood it sucks in and squirts out.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Walt Cross: And hers was at 10-15.

John Bradshaw: Ooh!

Barely moving. And so they went in, and they wanted to look at it, and they said, you know, they said, "It's probably just need a stent". They went in, and they said, "Oh, it's squeaky clean". Now, here's a person who's, you know, got a squeaky clean one. They went in, and they found there's some damage in there. And they said, "That's only caused by a drug. Have you ever taken this drug"? She says, "Yes, 44 years ago when I had chemotherapy".


And so they whisk her from the Kirkland Clinic straight over to the heart transplant unit and put her right there. And they were looking at possibly looking at a heart transplant. They said there was nothing could be done other than... you know, they said if we left her like she was, she wouldn't make a year. She would die.

Let's point out this is UAB.


This is a decent place.

Oh yeah. It's an excellent cardiac unit.

Well-renowned hospital.

Yes. Yes. And so, we stayed there a little bit. And... so I said, "You know, let's see what we can do with lifestyle". I left her today, and she was working away at the store. Her ejection fraction's come back. No, it's not a 60, 65 yet, but it's improving. And so... not only is there just lifestyle. I mean, she had a good lifestyle. She broke the record. They've never seen a person go... and normally...she'd took a drug called "The Red Devil," it's Adriamycin, and they used it for chemotherapy when she was 15. And normally it's within 10 years the heart stops, maybe 24, 25. But that's the longest they've ever had: 44 is the longest. It's based on her lifestyle.


Walt Cross: But even in that acute situation, can we do natural? And so, I mean, she was already eating a healthy diet; she was already exercising; she was already going to bed on time; she was already drinking her water.

John Bradshaw: So what do you do?

Walt Cross: We added some herbs.

John Bradshaw: Just that?

Walt Cross: Yes. Well, no. No, something more important.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, I know.

Walt Cross: Prayer.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: God does the healing. And so we added some herbal things, some supplements, you know, the magnesium and different things, and she's doing great.

How did you know what herbs and supplements to add?

Well, you've gotta look and see what does it need? And then what's out there that God has given us that can do it? And so... science is important. I believe God is big in science.

Sure, no question.

Walt Cross: He created science.

He's the God of science.

And so you can't just throw the baby out with the bathwater, you know?


And so you look at what... you go to NIH, National Institute of Health, and you look at what natural things are out there that will fix this problem or do the same thing that maybe they're hoping this drug would or whatever, and you start applying those.

Mm. Mm, mm. Well, praise the Lord. That seemed to work out really well. Yeah. Hey, you mentioned "back at the store," that she's at the store today. So tell me about the store. What's the store?

Yeah, we have a health food store.

Oh, you do?

We do. We had a deli until she had some challenges. Well, she's not back up to an EF of 60 yet, so I told her she can't open it back until... 'cause she runs. She's like the Ever Ready Bunny, you know?


She goes and she goes until she falls down. But we have a health food store, and people come in could be... I mean, one lady when I was teaching stop-smoking clinic one time, lady calls, and they bring the phone to me. She says her name's Karen. She says, Karen, "I think my little boy broke his arm". And I said, "Karen you need to go to the emergency room". "Well, I need you to look at it first". I said, "I don't have x-ray vision, but come on by". It was angulated and..."Go to the emergency room". So people come by with a lot of health issues.


And we do get those people who come in and say, you know, "I wanna change my diabetes. I wanna get rid of diabetes. I wanna get rid of cardiovascular disease". And I start talking about they need to cut out the hog jowl and the chitlins and the biscuits and gravy, and that kind of is a problem. And, well, no, they don't wanna do that.


But that's their choice, you know? God allows us choice. And so, you've got to get rid of the cause, and that unhealthy diet has a big impact on that diabetes.

Here's the thing, though. There's a reason people eat garbage.

Well, it tastes good.

Yeah. Cultural?

It's cultural big time.

It tastes good.

Yeah. Culture's huge.

But I tell you, man, healthy food doesn't taste bad.

It's delicious.

It's fantastic, particularly if you know what you're doing.

Walt Cross: Yeah, train the tongue.

John Bradshaw: And you learn. That's right. You can learn. I remember when I was brand new Christian going to church, was at a fellowship meal, and this little girl, her name was Keisha; I'll never forget her name. Keisha was eating green olives. I said, "Ugh! You eat those things"? And she looked at me with a smile and said, "Mm, they're so nice". And I thought, "If a 5-year-old girl can eat green olives, then so can I". When I came to the United States, everywhere you go, you know, there's cilantro, particularly if you're at a Mexican place. There's cilantro in the salsa.

Walt Cross: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: And I despised cilantro. I figured if I'm gonna eat salsa, I've gotta figure out the cilantro thing. I chose to like it, and now I like it as much as I like anything.

Walt Cross: Put it in black beans. It's delicious.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Yeah, you use it in many ways. So, you can train the taste buds.

Walt Cross: You can.

John Bradshaw: "I just don't like"... well, maybe there's that one-in-a-million thing you're never gonna get over it, but by and large...

Walt Cross: Yeah, you can. can like what you tell yourself you're gonna like, right?


Yeah. So there are some barriers to people making good decisions. We need to talk about the role of faith in adopting lifestyle practices, the role of the Holy Spirit. So we'll talk about some of those things in a moment, but we've got about a minute and a half. Tell me about another couple of things... lifestyle issues that maybe people aren't aware, that lifestyle change can really impact. You got about a minute.

Yeah. Sleep is a huge one. You know, people, you know, they think, "Well, oh, I can get by on four hours' sleep". "I can get by"...

No one can.

..."on six hours' sleep," you know. And we're now learning know your lymphatic system? Well, when I was in school, we didn't know. You know, we took anatomy and physiology and biology and chemistry, all those courses; we did not know that the brain had a lymphatic system. It's called the glymphatic system.


We just found that out, you know, in around 2013, 20... actually, your friend Brad is the one that taught me. Brad said...

John Bradshaw: Is that so?

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And so, we find that, you know, when you go to bed around 9 o'clock, that the brain does a deep cleaning, and then...from about 9:00 to 10:00... and then from 10:00 to midnight, it does a thorough cleaning and flushing. And if you're not asleep, it's not working too well. And they thought it was only just going to bed those hours before midnight, which the hours before midnight we know are worth twice the hours after midnight.


But they've now found that even exercise turns on the glymphatic system. But Harvard says this: "Even though we thought "that only going to bed by those hours before midnight "turn on the glymphatic system, "we have found there is something else "that turns on the glymphatic system. But"...bold letters, red... "you need to do both, and that's exercise".

There you go.

Two separate ways turns on the glymphatic. And sleep, sleep is imperative.


Walt Cross: It really is.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: But it's three things. You got the hours of sleep, then the hours before midnight, and then you need good sleep that you stay asleep so you get that REM sleep.

John Bradshaw: Mm. Mm-mm. Fantastic. Okay. I said there's a couple of things we're gonna ask you about in a moment, and we will. And I hope you hang around to join us. I'm having a good time. He is Walt Cross, and I'm John Bradshaw, more of our conversation in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. My guest is lifestyle coach Walt Cross. What we've spoken, I think, at length about, diabetes, heart disease, how these things can be reversed, there's something I wanna caution, though. It seems to me the minute you start talking about taking a whole-foods, plant-based approach to disease, that there might be someone who says, "If I just drink more carrot juice, I can get rid of my duodenal ulcer or my brain tumor". And there are some people who tend to take even good things too far or go into something unwisely. Talk to me about the dangers of that. How do we avoid going crazy with this stuff?

Walt Cross: You know, you asked me a question at first. You know, what did I think about pharmaceuticals? Did I agree with pharmaceuticals?

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Walt Cross: I believe that our studies should be into physiology. And as we understand physiology, we change lifestyles. And with the change of lifestyles, adding lifestyles, we don't have to use some of those pharmaceuticals.

Not nearly as much.

Yes. And so we should do, we should use less and less pharmaceuticals because we know the side effects; we know those issues. And so as we start applying the science-based physiology, then our body, we then have, we start moving from this side over to this side.

Now, in fairness, I oughta jump in and say this. Don't lose your place.


I have friends, cardiologists, who will know, they're totally committed to natural remedies...


...natural approach to illness, but they'll still prescribe drugs for heart disease in some cases 'cause they say, "These folks just need it". So there are times, there are times, and I don't want anybody to think that we are saying, "No drugs ever".


Because that would be reckless, I think.


John Bradshaw: But you're speaking in general terms, and I think we can understand that and should appreciate that very much. Yeah. Yes, proceed.

Walt Cross: So, as we, you know... We have to study physiology. You know, how does the body work?

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: Well, my daddy taught me how a tractor worked. You know, I grew up on a farm up on Cagle Mountain. And then he taught me how a car worked, and, you know, and, you know, you don't squall the tires, you don't, you know, you don't race the engine, and you change your oil every once in a while, you know, every 3,000 miles, and you rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. You know what your daddy taught you.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: The same thing's true with our body.

John Bradshaw: Right. That's right.

Walt Cross: And so as you take care of your car, you need to learn the physiology of the body.

John Bradshaw: There's a great deal of ignorance about how the body works.

Walt Cross: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Kids aren't being taught today, and so they're pouring things in and abusing their bodies in 1,000 different ways, just didn't know that all french fries all the time will one day come back to bite you, just didn't know.

Walt Cross: Yeah.

So that understanding physiology, very big thing.

Yeah. And I found there's a key. Do you remember taking a test in school? And you took the test and...

I remember that with trepidation.

Yeah. I hated the red pen, you know? And so the teacher had this master that they would sit down, it had holes punched in it, and they'd look and anywhere they didn't see my black mark, they put the red mark. Well, there is a master I have found, and it really, really works. And...can I share that master with you?

Oh yeah, I'd love it if you would.

Walt Cross: I had this couple come in to see me from Knoxville several years ago. They both worked in health care. They were but in the mid-60s, and they were having some health issues. And the wife went to the bathroom, and the husband was sitting there, and he's looking at this poster I have of those, that master. And he's just staring at it. And finally he goes, "That is the key to health". I said, "What are you talking about"? He said, "Those items there are the key to health". He says, "I've worked in health care my whole career. That's the key". Well, that's these eight basic things, and that is the fuel you put in your body.

John Bradshaw: Yep.

Walt Cross: The food. You know, the exercise. Do you exercise or not? Do you have adequate amount of water? Is it hydrated? You know, I have people come in and they say, "I don't do water".

John Bradshaw: They don't do water?

Walt Cross: No, don't do water.

John Bradshaw: What are they drinking?

Walt Cross: Oh, Mountain Dew, Pepsi. Are they getting sunshine? There's people just don't go outside. You know, they work inside, and they live inside, and they don't...they do this all day long inside...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: ...and they're not outside. Sunshine's very important.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Walt Cross: Fresh air is important. And then temperance. I call that making the right decisions. And it's not just "I don't do alcohol, drugs, and tobacco". It might be right decisions on what you're watching, what you're listening to, what you're reading, the conversations you're in, making the right decisions. And then, yes, fresh air, diaphragmatic breathing. Rest...are you getting that good sleep we talked about a few minutes ago? But the most important...

John Bradshaw: What's that?

Walt Cross: Trusting God 'cause God does the healing. All that we talked about before, it's God blesses that. Just like when we sit down at the table and you sit there, that apple's not gonna keep you alive. But you ask God to bless that apple.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Walt Cross: And then He blesses it, and it keeps you alive. And so we gotta do all eight. You gotta do all those seven I mentioned, plus you gotta trust Him, and He blesses that. And I find when I add those eight things, also along with learning about physiology, you know... but it still comes usually within that eight. You know, am I staying up late? What's the physiology of staying up late? What's the physiology of drinking Mountain Dews? Well, drink water. What's the physiology of eating, you know, biscuits and gravy versus the diet we talked about?

John Bradshaw: 'Cause people aren't thinking from cause to effect. If you just think about, what happens to my body when I eat this steak?

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: What happens, what happens when I drink this Mountain Dew or this milkshake? Or this...radish, whatever it might be, how does this impact me? When you start to think about it...

Walt Cross: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...that bag of candy that I grabbed off the shelf in the gas station when I went in to pay for my fuel, I wonder if I really needed to eat that whole thing on the drive home from work?


Yeah. Okay. So... you have gone beyond just advising people about their health. Lots of people do that. Physicians do that. They do a great job of it. We love our doctors, thank God for them, nurses and nurse practitioners... and you're none of those things. Back to what I was saying, you've gone beyond merely... "merely" might be the wrong word... advising people about their health. For you, this is ministry. You connect this to faith.


Like a right arm is connected to the body.


Why do you do that? And how do you see the benefits of doing that?

I think there's two reasons. You know, let's say I wanna go out that door over there, and my arms are behind my back. How do I get through that door?


Well, I can go through like a bull in a china closet. The body is the gospel. The hand is the door that opens that and allows the gospel to go in there carefully. Can I tell you a real quick story?

Oh yeah, I hope you will.

This lady comes in one time, and I was sitting down with a man and his wife, they'd moved in from California, and he had diabetes, and I was helping him there. Mary Lou comes over, and she says, "You need to help this lady a minute, and excuse me just a minute". So I told 'em, "Excuse me," and I went over. And she is squalling. You know what squalling is? She was cryin'.


And she said, "My husband, they've told me, is going to die. He has...he has" know what MRSA is?

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: Well, he had vancomycin-resistant, which is, that's even worse.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: And the physician had given him a severity of 10 of 10.

John Bradshaw: Oh.

Walt Cross: She'd gone over to a CVS pharmacy next door and across the street and was begging them for another drug to help. And they said, "Ma'am, your doctor's used everything. There's nothing else we can use as a drug". They said, "Go see Walt across the street. See if he can help you". So she came across the street, and she says, "Can you help my husband"? And I said, "Well, there's something I've used for MRSA. "It worked extremely well for MRSA, blows the doors off vancomycin". I said, "But he has vancomycin-resistant, and he's very serious". Because I knew what he had from what she said. I said, "I've never used it for that, but are you willing to try it"? She says, "I'll try anything. "I want my husband to stay alive". I said, "Okay". So I went and got something, brought it back. And I said, "Now, does your husband believe in God"? She says, "Nope". I said, "Do you believe in God"? She goes, "Nope". And I said, "Well, the only way this is gonna work "is if God blesses it. Do you mind if I pray and ask God to bless it"? She says, "I told you I'll do anything to keep my husband alive". I said, "Okay". So I prayed; Mary Lou prayed, asked God to bless this that it would help her husband. Said, "Okay," and she left. Two weeks later, she comes back. Oh, she was smiling. I mean, she was smiling from ear to ear. And she says, "The doctor just told us it's a 4 outta 10 in severity". Boom.

It was a 10 out of 10?

Yes. It was 10 of 10. She left. One week later, she comes back. I mean, she is crazy excited. And she said, "It's gone. The disease is gone, plum gone, the infection". And then she tells me this. She says, "My husband now believes in God".

Oh, really?

See how it works?

Yeah, that's a great story.

See, I didn't say I could make him better. I didn't say what I gave would fix him. I said only God could fix him. And she said, "He believes in God". Boom, she was gone. This was in 2005. Two years ago, I was up by...we have a huge herb cabinet. We do herbs. And this lady comes in. She says, "My husband wants to quit smoking. "Anything to help him? To help him with getting the desire away"? I said, "Sure". I said, "Take 1/4 of a cup of honey... your manuka honey could work"...

Oh yeah, that's the good stuff.

..."3/4 of a cup of lemon juice, "and 1/3 of a teaspoon of peppermint essential oil. Mix it up and have him take a nip anytime he gets a hanker". Now, for some folks, a "nip" is a little drink, and "hankering" is a desire for it.

There you go.

Which is country...

I'm glad we have you here to translate. Yeah.

Yes. And she goes, "Okay, great". She writes it down. She starts to head out the door, and I said, "But wait, don't forget the most important thing". And she says, "What's that? The peppermint"? I said, "No! Prayer". She goes, "You don't remember me, do you"? I said, "No, ma'am". She says...she comes back in; she starts telling the story. It was that lady.

Is that right?

I said, "I need to talk to you. I got some questions. Same husband"? "Yeah". I said, "Does he still believe in God"? She goes, "Oh yes, he does". I said, "I didn't get to ask you before you left. Do you believe in God"? She goes, "Oh yes, I believe in God".

Oh, is that right?

And I said, "So what you doing church-wise"? She goes, "Oh, we're very involved in Lincoln Baptist Church, and we're just, love God". And she said, "All took place right here". Now, I don't know where that lady's going from here. But do you see how it works?


That's why I do it. The second reason I do it is because... see, for people to hear the Holy Spirit, the brain's gotta work good. And so if you want the brain to work well, you use those eight laws I talked about. That makes the brain work better. And when the brain works better, they can hear the Holy Spirit, and they can discern God's Word when you share the gospel with them.

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

That's why I do what do.

The God of the Bible is the God of good health.


Like if a person hasn't been reading the Bible with eyes open to that, you start to read and you start to look about what the Bible says about health. It says an enormous amount about health. So...let me ask you this. When it comes to good health principles, what are some simple things that a lot of people are just missing? What are some that you would say, "Oh, this is fundamental; this is basic good health"? A lot of people are just, for whatever reason, they're not getting it. Can you think of any things?

It's those eight laws. The eight things I mentioned, that's the foundation. And it's a willingness to change. Just like if you are a smoker, you gotta want to quit smoking. Do you want to be healthy? That person needs to make a decision here to make that change, and that comes first.

What do you find motivates that person? So there's someone that like, "Yeah, "I'm 200 pounds overweight, but, man, I just, "I know everything you're saying is right, "but I love this tub of ice cream and bag of M&M's I eat every night before I go to bed". They know they should, but they don't really want to. How do you get does a person get to the place they want to change? And then...this is a little trickier... how do you help a family member to see that God has a better plan for them?

You know, it's unfortunately that that person has a heart attack. You know, something major happens, and they live through it.


Or they go in, and the doc says, you know, "You got an occlusion". You know, "You got the widowmaker". "You've got"...whatever. And sometimes they're so severe that lifestyle change is too slow, and they're gonna have to have some work done in there...

Yeah. that surgeon. But sometimes it's that... they hit the wall, and... or maybe a trucker drives, and he's gonna lose his CDLs if he goes on the needle.

Yep, yep.

And so they usually have to hit the wall or about to hit the wall.

Yeah, a friend of mine was overweight. He went to the doctor. The doctor said, "You are developing a serious disease. The only thing for you is to lose weight or else". And so he did. He made some radical changes, did fantastic. You'd barely recognize him. He lost a pile of weight. He suddenly was motivated, and there it was. But, man, you don't wanna wait until the doctor says, "The writing's on the wall".

Not at all. No. And help me with that second question again.

I don't know. But that's okay. Let me ask you this question. And we're about at the time where we need to start reviewing, so, good lifestyle practices, following biblical teachings, following the eight natural laws, not going crazy but being sound, and keeping in touch with your doctor. We've already ascertained you can wind back diabetes. You can address all kinds of heart disease.


You even spoke about MRSA. And I bet you that came as a surprise. What are some of the other things that...and we don't need to go into the how's...

Yeah, sure.

...but what are some other things that like, "I didn't know that there's a way to address this just through lifestyle"? What are some of those other things? Might even surprise somebody.

Let's say it's gout.


And so, you know, can you plum reverse it? You gotta get to the cause. What's causing the gout? It could know, we used to think it was just the red meat, but we're finding any of the meats is exacerbating it, and any of the dried beans... you know, pinto beans, soup beans, lentils.



Not good for gout?


Beans are supposed to be good for everything.

Yeah, but not gout.


Yeah. It could be oatmeal even, could be a problem. Even brown rice could be a problem for that person.


It could be sugar. Sugar's huge. Alcohol, alcohol's sugar.


High-fructose corn syrup.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Walt Cross: It's in so much.

John Bradshaw: It's in everything these days.

Walt Cross: Yeah. And so you wanna get that cause. And then we've known for years tart cherry juice... we used that when I worked in regular health care... tart cherry juice is great. Celery seeds, great. But, you know, again, you wanna find what's that cause. The cure is in the cause. So, you find out what's causing it, remove that. You know... I went total vegetarian. I grew up on a dairy farm.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: And then one with beef cattle. And I'd given up beef 'cause of what I saw in the stockyards.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, huh?

Walt Cross: I saw what we took to stockyards... when they were sick, you know? And so...but dairy was so hard for me. And finally, my gastroenterologist said, "Well, you're gonna die. Plum you're gonna die". He said, "Your colon has no intact tissue in it. None, period".

John Bradshaw: Oh!

Walt Cross: And he said, "We might be able to take your colon out, see if we can help you. But you're not doing good". And so I thought, "Dying's not... Let me check out somebody else".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Walt Cross: And so I... Somebody that you probably, I'm sure, know, a cardiologist. We'd had dinner before, two years before, and he'd had some issues. And so I went to somebody he went to. Six months, I was totally healed. I gave up dairy, and dairy is a big part of it, and it took six months to heal that colon. But now I've been 22 years without any problems.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic.

Walt Cross: And so sometimes you have to get to that root cause, take that root cause away, and then you're okay.

John Bradshaw: Can't thank you enough. This has been a joy. I think you've offered a lot of hope, a lot of wisdom, a lot of scientifically-based counsel. And my hope and prayer is that you've pointed a lot of people in the right direction. You are gonna be busy traveling and teaching and speaking and counseling, and you do an awful lot in your community. You run a business there, and thank the Lord, He keeps bringing people to you to help. Thanks for being here.

Walt Cross: Thanks for having me.

John Bradshaw: This has been a real blessing. This has been a blessing. I'm glad you have not missed this blessing, and I hope that you've picked up something that's gonna be a practical help to you as you move forward. I'm John Bradshaw. He is Walt Cross. This has been our conversation.
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